L’Oreal of Paris: Bringing “Class to Mass” with Plenitude
L’Oreal, a long time hair care, skincare, and cosmetic leader, was faced with a positioning problem of their Plenitude skincare line. The Plenitude line, which included cleansers and moisturizers had been a smashing success in the French skincare market following its 1982 introduction and was introduced in the U.S. market in 1988. It had grown quickly to become the #2 brand in the market, behind Oil of Olay. Plenitude was marketed as an upscale product bringing new people into mass channels from department stores. A four-year sales plateau was reached and their #2 position was lost to Pond’s. Carol Hamilton, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the L’Oreal Retail division was faced with a division that wasn’t making any money after an 8-9 year introduction into the U.S. market. Carol Hamilton believed that there were four key areas to focus on to improve their position. 1.
Improve the top line-break through the sales plateau and move more products to maintain a strong position. 2.
Get the bottom-line moving in the right direction quickly. 3.
Get the U.S. in a position to be a major contributor to the brand’s position globally. 4.
Make sure that they had suitable skincare products for the U.S. customer while maintaining the L’Oreal technology portfolio. Multiple aspects of the organizational structure had to be rethought. A new brand positioning needed to be crafted. Did they have too many products? Was the premium pricing appropriate for all of the products? Is the “star” system of putting all their media dollars behind their newest and most technologically advanced product still the best way to go? Are the aspects of their strategy “too French” for the U.S. market? How do they utilize their powerful asset- the L’Oreal brand name? In order for L’Oreal to achieve their desired goals they need to develop their positioning strategy. The first step is to develop and...
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